Today: KanRocksas Powering Up, Rocking On Despite Cold Shoulder From Buzz

In a perfect world, KanRocksas music fest would have ads running every which way but loose all over radio station The Buzz...

After all, The Buzz is the one local station that caters to most of the artists booked for the two-day festival August 5th and 6th at Kansas Speedway. However, Buzz owner Entercom has refused to allow KanRocksas to buy ads for the event on its airwaves.

Because two weeks later, the station is selling tickets to its own single day Beach Ball competing event at nearby LiveStrong Park. The thinking being if listeners go to KanRocksas, they might not cough up the cash for Beach Ball.

That’s the bad news. Now the good. Things are going good for KanRocksas

"I think we’re going to be successful because everybody knows about it," says promoter Chris Fritz. "We’ve got billboards up and everything (else) that you can imagine we’re doing."

Not that the local rumor mill has been doing KanRocksas any favors.

The talk being that KanRocksas has only sold 8,000 to 10,000 tickets to date. That’s not the case, Fritz says.

"We have 13,000 tickets sold and we’ve set the capacity at 50,000 tickets," he adds. "So counting promotional and trade tickets, we only have about 24,000 to 28,000 more tickets left to sell. And you know, for a first-year festival, people are still getting their heads around it."

Aside from having a far larger entertainment bill than Beach Ball, KanRocksas has a few tricks up its sleeve.

"Nobody’s ever seen a production this big around here before," Fritz says. "The main stage is like 200 feet wide – it’s a monster. I mean, this is a festival, it’s truly a festival.  And we have a lot of surprises; we’re bringing lots of things in. We’re not trying to compete with (Beach Ball) at all -I look at it as two separate things.

"Kansas City’s never had an event like this festival. I’ve been doing this for years and it never has. People who like bands like the Flaming Lips, Primus, Grace Potter, Eminem, Muse and OK GO – they’re going to see a helluva show. It comes out to about six bucks an act. I mean, where can you see Muse for six bucks? If you went to see these as individual acts it’d cost you about $1,200. Oh yeah, and it’d take you more than 30 days."

Additional acts include, Ween, Flogging Molly, Cage the Elephant, Arctic Monkeys and Girl Talk.
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34 Responses to Today: KanRocksas Powering Up, Rocking On Despite Cold Shoulder From Buzz

  1. chuck says:

    That Eminem Guy is pretty scary, some picture.

  2. harley says:

    outside the rock and 4 or 5 other stations the rest of these stations are dead.
    Especially those catering to younger audience. Fritz will find that mobile media..
    social media…internet ads…etc. will cover his potential market cheaper adn more
    effective than the buzz or the other crap stations at entercom.
    TV is on fire…esepcially in the summer with the great programming on cable right
    now while the networks show reruns. Fritz can use targeted tv campaigns and
    reach all the people he wants without spending a dime on entercomm.
    The days of radio are over for the most part.
    Talk with kids 18-34….25-35 and radio is like history to them. With their mobile
    devices they don’t need to listen to the b.s. and commercials when they can
    dial up pandora or other sites and get exactly the music they want.
    And for hearne and glaze who are stil pretending to be marketing experts, those
    new people meters and pure crap. There no inidicated margin of error and anyone in
    polling industry knows that means the results are not to be taken seriously.
    Its time someone told the truth about the radio rating…pure crap and those numbers
    are so overblown that the experts in the polling industry say don’t pay attention to them..
    they are wrong…wrong…wrong…..

  3. kansas karl says:

    Harley you are full of shit
    Should Chris Fritz take advice from an internet troll? The marketing for this concert is way beyond your little paragraph. In this day you need to market across the many platforms, including radio. Your expertise is limited and mostly noise. YOu have no real information just speculation, and misinformed. The best any cable program has done is 7 million nation wide, in a country of 312 million equals less than 3% now do the math, KC’s population is approx 2 million, so at most the best cable program is going to reach about 60,000 folks here, the local news will reach more humans any day than the best cable program. Any marketer who looks at radio as a mass media is just as confused as the one who thinks cable is “on fire”, the niche the buzz plays to listens, they show up for concerts and events. They are living the lifestyle of the station. One suggestion is buy Facebook and Google ads targeted to those who “like” both the artists at the concert and the buzz. The PPM is nothing more than a tool to compare and contrast the offerings of radio.

  4. smartman says:

    Do The Math
    Good point Kansas Karl. Chris has taken a lot of advice from his “little head” in the past, so harley’s not that far removed.

    Sold 13000, capacity at 50,000. 24,000 left to sell, looks like 13,000 tix have or will be given away for trade or promotion. That’s over 25%!

    What happened to the 80,000 estimate?

    Don’t see how this even approaches break even.

    Good thing Bill Brandmeyer’s daddy made lots of money for him to play with.

  5. Markus Aurelius says:

    I occasionally listen to the sounds of several acts that
    will be coming to KanROCKsas but I never listen to The Buzz and I doubt that in this day and age very many fans of alternative music listen to The Buzz.

    Entercom is clueless about how to successfully run an alternative music station, or a sports radio station, or a news radio station…….seems to be a recurring theme here. Maybe they can start simulcasting The Buzz on the AM dial to give it a real gritty edge.

    I just don’t get this advertising cold shoulder. The concerts are featuring different acts — not all fans of Eminem are fans of Jane’s Addiction, etc… etc… etc… Is there some crossover? Sure, but it’s the artists that are going to determine whether someone buys a ticket.

  6. Hearne Christopher says:

    I would suggest you do the math this way:

    MORE than 13,000 tickets sold, 28,000 left to sell mena MORE than 41,000 sold. Many of the other tickets are promotional tickets they are using to get air mentions and spots all over the county to promote the festival and get the word out, Fritz says. Places like Denver, etc.

    The higher numbers that were kicked around early were somewhat speculative based on the size of the site. They decided to cap it for the first year.

  7. Hearne Christopher says:

    Hey, don’t sell The Buzz short. It may have been a weak sister a few years back but things have changed. For example in April, for men 25 to 54, 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. (morning drive), The Rock was No. 1 with a 14.5 share, The Fox was in 2nd with a 10.4 and The Buzz was 3rd with an 8.4 share.

    It’s not that KanRocksas can’t get the basic word out thru other avenues that it exists.

    But repetition, reminding listeners over and again of who is playing, when and where is how marketing works. You don’t think The Rock merely mentioned Rockfest and everybody just clambered aboard. They hit it again and again.

    KanRocksas may be a huge success. But it would have probably gotten there a lot faster and easier if it didn’t have to work around reaching out directly to fans on the exact station that caters directly to listeners of the alternative acts it is featuring.

  8. smartman says:

    Redux The Math
    We both took numbers supplied by Chris. You chose one variable and I chose the other. We have two different results but could both claim we are correct.

    This proves the point I raised about “entertainment accounting” in a post on Jack’s piece about funding for movies.

    In the early 80’s I spent two weeks on the road with a good friend who was a Tour Accountant. He showed me every way that promoters screw bands with inflated bills, no show labor, etc.

    To quote the legendary Robert Evans. There are three sides to every story; your side, my side, the truth and nobody’s wrong

  9. Jim Beam says:

    Not Accurate
    Hey all –

    Just as I wrote over on Tim Finn’s blog, the Buzz and Entercom shot THEMSELVES in the foot. When Fritz met with Entercom to gauge interest in their stations helping promote the show, the Buzz demanded the show be called Buzz Fest. Now, Chris Fritz may be a lot of things, but he ain’t stupid. Knowing that the fanbase – and the advertising footprint of this show – was going to be culled from nearly 9 states, he thought it outrageous that one radio station be so selfish to think they could call this Buzz Fest.

    After all, it was the forethought of Fritz and Bill Brandemier that put this thing together in the first place. Chris and Bill secured the venue, fronted the band advances, worked to secure talent, pulled together backline and other production and did everything one would have to do to put on a major festival.

    So here’s Fritz in the Entercom conference room basically laying out a show that would be right in the Buzz’s wheelhouse to promote, loaded with their artists, with all of the legwork done and paid for, in addition to the $40,000+ that Fritz would just be handing to the cluster to buy commercials and sponsorships AS WELL AS at least $20,000 more in trade for tickets to give away…and all the Buzz could come back with was, “We want it to be Buzz Fest.”

    WHAT???? Are you kidding me?

    Fritz did what any self-respecting promoter would do. He told them to shove it up their ass, then went and gave the money to Wilks and Cumulus.

    Now, the story you don’t know, Hearne, is how the Buzz then threatened to pull ANY and ALL of the artists playing KanRocksas off of the radio station. The Black Keys, for example, where getting played 17 times a week before the announcement. The Buzz was preparing to just pull all of those spins off the air in retaliation. This is how they play the game over there.

    When artists approach Cumulus about doing shows with the Dam, the Rock cries to their label buddies and threaten to pull all of the spins. Eliott Spitzer and the Payola controversy did nothing to quell the spins game on Squibb. Their level of arrogance and cry-baby-ness is well and above anybody else in town.

    Yes, recently they have had success, but look for controversy in those numbers, too, from the Arbitron PPM side. Who’s friend has a meter?

    Anyway, as I told Finn – you old media Star types have always been so quick to put your heads up Dare and Entercom’s asses. Entercom REFUSED to take Fritz’s money? Pshaw! Entercom finally got what was coming to them.

    The better story here might be how radio – and other “old media” – advertising might just be money down the drain for Fritz and Co. anyway. They’ll do better with targeted ads, social media, viral video, etc. THAT’S the REAL story. But get off the Entercom talking points and at least acknowledge how priggish they all are.

  10. harley says:

    Jim beam is correct
    seems that kansas carl and smartman are old…old thinkers…maybe not tuned into what
    is going on in the media. Sorry smartman…you’re a fucking idiot with no facts.
    Kansas karl….you too are another mouth shooter.. probably don’t have kids or around young
    adults….which mean you’re a cranky old media piece of shit who has no idea whats going on.
    Jim beam is right. I’m right. I know more about media than either of you ever read.
    So fritz can still do well…forget the buzz…you can buy around them to reach their audience…
    all 30 of them. You can do guerilla marketing…facebook…twitter….website marketing…go to
    the other alternative concerts and market….frtiz has cap fed park…he can do things there…
    but most important they don’t need the buzz to be successful…why? The station is dead fucking
    Have the guy who dates the hooker show us the numbers….how many retailers that cater to that
    market don’t advertise on the buzz and do really really well…..i can name 20 at least…so
    if fritz is tuned inot the new way to market he can be successful.
    And why would you kansas karl and smartman want this to fail. What skin do you have in the game.
    Just more bullshit from crappy little pieces of shit know nothings with negativ3e attitudes about everything.
    I want this to be successful and i think it will be. Buzz or no buzz….
    like jim beam said…if they are smart and work all the angles they will sell tickets.
    Now kansas karl if you want to debate media or marketing i’d be glad to do that.

  11. Media Buyer says:

    Concert dollars
    According to the latest ratings the Buzz currently ranks third with adults 25-54 which is unheard of for an Alternative station. I can’t think of another market that I buy media in where the Alternative station ranks that high. (Entercom owned KQRC ranks #1.) KMBZ is hands down the dominant News Talk station here in the KC and, with a little help from the Royals KCSP currently has more listeners than rival WHB (as reported right here on KC Confidential). The Rock and The Buzz enage their audiences by putting on concerts and events whereby the station can bond with the listeners and, they make some money at the same time. I wouldn’t exactly say they are “clueless.” I’d say that is kind of smart. Other than Q104’s Yallapoloza and Mix 93’s Red White and Boom( which I don’t think they are doing this year) no other stations in the Market put on there own concerts.

    I can see Entercom’s point for not supporting Kanrockas. It’s not about the artists. It about the available “concert dollars” in the market. People will only spend so much money each summer going to concerts. Concert dollars are finite just like the available sports dollars. Very few people will own seasons tickets to both Royals and Chiefs. Entercom has a vested interest in Buzz Under the Stars( usually a series of two or three concerts), Buzz Beachball, and the grand daddy of them all….Rockfest. Already this summer Entercom had 55,000 show up at Rockfest and I believe Buzz Under the Stars last week with Mumford and Sons was a sellout at 10,000. Why would they help a new event that will reoccurring annually and would cut into ticket sales of all of their own events? Why would they help create an new annual competitor for those concert dollars? You don’t hear ads for XM Siruis on the radio do you? That’s because radio stations won’t sell them the time. This is no different.

    At the end of the day the success of this Rockansas ( terrible name and logo) will be based on the artist line-up, the venue, and the price of tickets. As of right now the artists lineup is mediocre at best, the venue is poor ( seriously? the infield of a racetrack in Kansas in the heat of August?), and the ticket pricess are extremely high. My personal opinion is Rockansas was illconcieved from the start and they will have a very difficult time selling the remaining tickets.

  12. Markus Aurelius says:

    Great post, Jim Beam
    good, accurate, inside info — well done.

  13. Hearne Christopher says:

    I’ve been an alternative music listener forever but don’t listen to local radio either. When I want to hear music, I play what I want to hear. But that’s just me.

    Clearly with an 8.4 share of men 25-54, The Buzz has a lot of listeners.

    Don’t think Eminem and Jane’s is a good comparison – more like Primus, Flaming Lips and others. Btw, I did the first Jane’s show in KC at the old Lone Star in Westport way back and it did not come close to selling out. Jane’s did hugely sell out a handful of years back – but at the Beaumont Club, not a stadium show.

    One thing is clear; The Buzz knows KanRocksas has a far stronger overall lineup and thinks helping promote it would hurt sales for Beach Ball. Why else would they turn down cash money for paid ads?

  14. Hearne Christopher says:

    I saw your comment to this effect but having spoken with promoters and the radio stations involved do not know or necessarily know it to be accurate. But you make an interesting case, so I’ll check it out.

    I will say this; Beach Ball is not merely a Buzz show. They are promoter partners with AEG. Sharing in ticket sales, expenses, concession and merchandise revenues.

    So based upon that, it would appear that Entercom wanted a share in the show, not just the naming rights. Again, I do not know this to be the case, but I’ll poke around.

    What I have confirmed all around is – bottom line – Entercom won’t let KanRocksas buy ads.

    I have heard talk that there may be issues with playing music by artists but have no confiormation.

  15. Hearne Christopher says:

    Clearly they are buying around The Buzz – although I’m not convinced Entercom won’t relent and accept a bit of KanRocksas green.

    However, they are not happy about having to buy around The Buzz, as Fritz and others have stated.

    And how many more tickets KanRocksas might have sold by now remains an unanswered question

  16. In the Know says:

    Jim Beam is drunk
    Hey Jim,
    There is absolutely nothing in your post that is accurrate. Zip nada, zilch. It is completely fabricated. The Buzz never demaned “Buzz fest” . That’s absurd. They already have Buzz Under the Stars and Buzz Beachball. Fritz didnt tell them to stick it up there ass and took his money to Wilks and Cumulus. Fritz himself admits that he’s tried and can’t buy any advertising. Thats why he pissing and moaning now. Maybe Entercom has a right to be pissed at Fritz. They have always partnered with Fritz and done Beachball at Sandstone. This year they decided to move Beachball to the new soccer stadium and then Fritz decides to launch a competing concert 2 weeks before Beachball? I would tell Fritz to go and pound sand too.

  17. Hearne Christopher says:

    I would like to eat a little crow on my reporting about 610 Sports April ratings rise.

    As in, how much of the station’s surge had to do with the early Royals wins.

    We’ll have the May numbers in pretty soon and we’ll see what happens then. But odds are they’ll be down. And watch out for June the way things are going (Happy now, Kevin?)

  18. Hearne Christopher says:

    It does “sound” good but I’m not convinced.

    What I do know is that The Buzz is pissed about getting outed on this deal. Somebody up top made them take their diss of KanRocksas down. And one of their morning show flunkies went after Craig Glazer this morning on his way into the Johnny Dare show.

    He thought Craig had written the story and told him KCC sucked. Craig told him to eff off and naturally offered to meet him after he got off the air. Uh, the challenge was not accepted.

  19. Hearne Christopher says:

    I’m with you on the first part.

    But I don’t think KanRocksas was a move to spite Beach Ball. I think it was an opportunity that presented itself, in no small part because many of the bands at Lollapalooza Chicago had open dates and the routing worked.

  20. Einstein says:

    the math
    I am hearing that break even is at $8 million including the cost of talent ,security, staging , and the rental of the Speedway. With the beer and soft drink pouring rights usually owned by the venue, the majority of the revenue needs to come from ticket sales and t-shirtys . If they are giving away 9,000 tickets and sell 41,000 ( giiving Fritz the benefit of the doubt and assuming they are all 2 day passes at $179) they will still lose about $661,000. You would have to sell a lot of t shirts to cover that. My guess is they will max out the first year of an event at 30,000 tickets sold and lose north of $2.5 million. If thats the case this could be both the first and last Kanrockas.

  21. Hearne Christopher says:

    I wouldn’t bet against Fritz getting a share of the per caps (food and drink sales) as well. My early sourcing on the fest – even when the larger numbers were being bandied about – was that 30,000 to 40,000 sales was the realistic, hoped for attendance.

    That being the case, my bet is the breakeven is around that area. Meaning money could be made at 41,000 sales.

  22. kansas karl says:

    Harley is wrong again
    From TVB:

    In the 2010-11 television season, broadcast dominated the primetime program rankings, according to a TVB analysis of Nielsen Media Research figures. In A25-54, broadcast accounted for 93 of the top 100 programs; in A18-49, it accounted for 89 of the top 100 programs.

    In both demos, all of the subscription-TV programs that made the top 100 were sports events. Interestingly, four of those programs were college bowl games which last year were all on broadcast–on average, the games were down 8% in the A18-49 demo and down 12% in the A25-54 demo (Live+SD) this year.

    One game went in the reverse direction (from cable to broadcast). Due to the shared NFL contract, the NFL AFC-NFC Pro Bowl game aired last season on ESPN and this season on Fox

  23. Gsm says:

    Awesome! Not for me:(
    I wish I was a buzz sales guy right now. I would send this article to every one of my clients. A multi- million dollar event is struggling because they can’t advertise on the buzz. This story couldn’t work out better for entercom.

    Why doesn’t he just advertise on this site? I’m sure that would do the trick!

  24. Hearne Christopher says:

    Actually, the radio guys I spokes with – suits, not jocks – think this will have the opposite effect. That advertisers at Entercom stations nationally will wonder when their station will turn on them.

    And remember, Fritz says he’s doing fine as is.

  25. Gsm says:

    Let me get this straight. Kansrocksas is doing fine and doesn’t need the buzz. The buzz is doing fine ratings wise and wants to promote it’s own show. Kansrocksas isn’t competing with the buzz and the buzz isn’t hurting kansrocksas because once again it’s doing fine.

    What was this story about again?

  26. harley says:

    All you business geniuses…you too hearne…
    don’t know shit about what you’re talking about. You’ve never had to make a payroll…manage a business…
    control costs…put together a business plan….write checks….struggle during slow periods…so you don’t
    know anything about business.
    Hearne…your little website hardly qualifies you to discusss business proofit and losses and to assess
    what fritz is doing. Kansas karl…you too…obviulsly you are a media whore…another loser who never did
    anything ut sell airtime and count ratings numbers.
    Having owned 3 large companies (2 currently) you can see that there is a strong upside to this event.
    Don’t know the numbers…the costs…the overhead…concession splits etc. but if fritz is involved chances are
    very very good it will make money.
    And probablly got the bands cheap since it was a fill in date on their way to another city.
    Hearne…when you “make” your first half million dollars in profit you then can become an expert
    in business…till then…running this little site with the same 5 advertisers hardly qualifies you to
    be a business expert.
    I’d like to see glazes take on this.
    Again…fritz and comapny are entreprenuers. People willing to take a risk. Even without the buzz
    it can be very profitable. Many events go on and become successful without a single station…
    and let me tell you this…the buzz ain’t all its cracked up to be.
    Why are all of you wanting this to fail. Fritz has put these on before and knows how to do big
    shows. So lets wait and see what happens and hope these guys are successful and come back
    and do it again.
    I don’t know too many of these bands…saw a few of them on hdnet. But I’ll put my money on
    fritz to make this happen. he’s got too many years of diong this not to be a money maker…and
    it could still be a major tax writeoff for the investors/fritz etc.
    Good luck chris…i worked for you years ago and you treated me well….

  27. kansas karl says:

    Harley unable to rise up and dispute real media information
    What’s up dude? I was expecting a real media lesson and all you put forth was a love letter to Fritz, and a couple of shots to the journalist over making payroll. That was a hard one to come up with, attack the message bringer, did they teach you that in bidness school?

  28. Hearne Christopher says:

    Don’t blame you for getting lost with the range of comments.

    The initial story was about a radio station going into the concert business and screwing over some of its advertisers by refusing to allow them to buy ads to promote a major local festival. A fest that will compete as it turns out with a far smaller promotion the station is promoting.

    In this followup, we learn that despite the handicap, the fest has sold more than 50 percent more tickets than previously rumored and reported. And that the fest will have the largest stage ever to grace the Kansas City concert scene and other “surprises.”

  29. Hearne Christopher says:

    Hmmm, how about my 14 years in the investment industry as a senior VP and accreditation as NYSE allied member and financial principal? Nah

  30. C'mon Man says:

    who’s the one getting screwed?
    “The initial story was about a radio station going into the concert business and screwing over some of its advertisers by refusing to allow them to buy ads to promote a major local festival. A fest that will compete as it turns out with a far smaller promotion the station is promoting. ”
    Dude…….pull your head out of Fritz’s ass. The radio station is not just “going into the concert business.” They have been doing Beachball for years. Many of them were at Fritz’s own venue Sandstone. Kanrockas is the brand new event and Fritz dropped it 2 weeks before the already established Beachball. I can’t blame the Buzz for wanting their listeners to buy tickets to their event versus Fritz’s. I hardly see that as “screwing advertisers”. As a matter of fact I think Fritz is screwing Beachball. BTW who gives a shit how big the stage is? C’mon man.

  31. smartman says:

    Harley Sheen
    Hey Sergeant Shultz, I mean harley….YOU KNOW NUTTING!

    Chris went BK early on only to get propped up by Irv Zuckerman and the Contemporary gang in St. Louis. Enter Russ Klein, who got them into the mix with the motorsports and lacrosse and other event production.

    Had Irv and Russ not come to his rescue and aid when they did his life would have turned out much differently.

    Remember the Chris Fritz Rockin’ New Years Eve….or how about Super Picnic? Two of many epic failures he’s been associated with.

    I don’t think it’s a case of anyone wanting him to fail as much as we hate to see blatant stupidity rewarded.

    I think Kanrocksas is going to be a faceplant of at least a million bucks. That’s chicken feed to Brandmeyer…..but then’s daddy’s money.

  32. Hearne Christopher says:

    Nobody said this was a first; RockFest, Beach Ball, Buzz Under the Stars. What is a first is a radio station that makes 99 percent of its income selling advertising is – I repeat – screwing over some of its advertisers because of its foray into the world of concert promotion.

    You don’t think the Kansas Speedway will be bummed if it ends up drawing far fewer attendees and thus sells way less concessions than it thinks it otherwise might have? You don’t think the promoters and, again, the venue will be bummed if somehow the event loses money and instead of becoming an annual festival as planned, dies out after a single year.

    That the festival will be staged on a grand scale may escape you, but it won’t those in attendance and the artists who are performing on that 200 foot stage.

  33. Hearne Christopher says:


  34. Yeahyeahyeah says:

    F*ck The Point
    I live in St. Louis and 105.7 The Point has been ridiculing the festival, and the “stupid” name . However, the lineup is downright incredible for a festival in Kansas City. 105.7 The point brings bands like Breaking Benjamin to their Pointfest, and hopefully the success of this will pave the way for even more music festivals in the area. The lineup will sell plenty of tickets, and the marketing was probably a daunting task, but they will succeed. Ever since I won tickets online I told all my friends and they bought tickets. The free camping and pretty much the same line up as lollapalooza has the recipe for greatness.

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